Well stated, as usual, Richard.
Not to quibble, but just to avoid confusion (and inform myself if I've missed something), I believe your comments about Eliot attempting to serve "on his own terms" applies to WWI, at which time he was American citizen and therefore had little enough time for time to legitimately "run out" on him. By WWII, he was a British subject and had about six years, which is rather too much time to run out on someone trying to serve. Rather, I think by reason of his age and stature, he never seriously considered serving in WWII, other than in a civil defense capacity (which he did, as you note).
If you did mean that he attempted to serve in a military capacity in WWII, I'd be interested in hearing more about that.
In a message dated 12/2/2003 10:07:02 PM Eastern Standard Time, Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>Eliot wrote two pieces of war poetry that I know of. There may well be
>I would encourage you to read "Defense of the Islands" and "A Note on War
>Poetry" and start to draw your own opinion of Eliot's feelings concerning
>Eliot tried to serve in WW II , albeit on his own terms, but was unable.
>Joining the armed forces was not simply a matter of showing up, swearing in
>and shipping out for Eliot but something that needed to be negotiated. The
>negotiations drew out to the point that he ran out of a war to serve in. He
>did serve as an air raid warden in London. He was a fairly famous literary
>person during the war and did not, to my knowledge, speak out against it.
>It would have been easy for him to find an audience for any anti-war
>feelings that he might have wanted to express.